A mindful friend

What do we like about people? This was the title of an email newsletter I received a couple of days back from Ali Abdal. I went through the contents. It covered this aspect of the overall ‘gut feeling’ of a “good vibe”, or the feeling of “we get along really well” kind of feelings when you meet someone who has your wavelength. It stated that it isn’t some mysterious energy that can’t be analysed. It’s instead an interaction between their personality traits, our personality traits, the similarity of interests and a bunch of other things. Let me tell you about one such friend…

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Someone forwarded me this picture a few months back. I immediately sent it to my “mindful friend.” He replied, ” are we ready for a call?”. I called him in an instant and we chatted for 30 minutes. We brought this aphorism to life “a picture speaks 1000 words.”

As we were speaking, I paced around the balcony and on my whiteboard I starting noting down some interesting points from the conversation. It was such a nice feel-good conversation where we laughed a lot, provoked each other’s point of view and finally agreed on one thing about growth. My take from this infographic was to look at both kinds of growth as part of your overall growth. External growth could be linked to your professional growth, and internal can be on how to build a calm mind in the face of good and bad things happening to you. That conversation made me define him as a person who can connect everything down to first principles. To me, he is that person who follows Feynman’s maxim to the T, ” Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry“.

A couple of months back my wife came and told me that I have added you into one group of select people. The plan is to go through Gita lessons. Initially, I was very skeptical and I was not very sure to attend the class. But knowing that my “mindful friend” is the facilitator I decided to give it a go. I have known him for the last four years as a coach, consultant and friend by now. I saw him reading a coaching book in a coffee shop and that was a fascinating conversation as I made the first step to go to him and introduce myself. Ever since every interaction with him has been fascinating and something which I have cherished.

So there I was in the Srimad Bhagavad Geeta class and I was in the class for 10 minutes and that is when the tables were changed. I knew Geeta as a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Pandava Prince Arjuna, it comprises 700 shlokas across 18 chapters as part of the epic Mahabharata. It is believed to be a straight gospel from the lips of Lord Krishna as he advised Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. My friend flipped the presentation mode and explained that the Geeta is only an allegory. Over the course of eight weeks, what we were going to learn (from a concise version of 18 chapters with a set of selected shlokas) is ” how to lead self”. Throughout the course, there was correlation and linkages to neuroscience and other philosophies and I enjoyed the validation of what the epic scripture has presented. I have started practising meditation in the morning and the timing couldn’t have been better as the Geeta delves deeply into this aspect of creating states where on your volition you become like a lamp in a windless place.

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When I heard the above line from Naval Ravikanth in a podcast, I started thinking about how my mindful friend will process this statement. Naval in his characteristic style defined happiness this way “happiness is when you shut down your mind”. As soon as I heard that I paused the podcast and was linking what I heard from my mindful friend. If there is one thing I picked up from the Geeta it is Karm Yog ( Action-orientation).

The question that beckoned me was, “how will I define happiness“? My definition of happiness is tied to what I can enjoy at any moment which makes me pause and reflect just like that quote in the podcast. To extend that state of happiness, I had to reflect, connect and then put it in the form of a blog like this one. The whole process of doing it brought me a sense of fulfilment or in other words happiness. As he would say “It is in the doing that a thing is done.

I continue to draw a lot of inspiration from this mindful friend and I am looking forward to our next interaction on the below infographic. Let me send him this picture and dial him now…

Naval Ravikant Quotes | Shoutworks

2 thoughts on “A mindful friend

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  1. A very interesting perspective on growth – growing internally and externally. The blog drives home the point, if you nourish your soul, you grow in all dimensions. Getting started on the inner growth journey is the key.

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